More than 80% of parents don’t intend to send their children back to school today, a GMB poll shows.
A total of 1,601 members responded to a GMB Union survey launched on Friday [May 29, 2020] – with a massive 1,307 saying they were not planning on sending their children back today.
During the weekend several members of the Government’s own SAGE advisory body, warned against easing lockdown restrictions for children Reception, Year 1 and year 6.
Top scientists also said opening schools today would compromise the UK’s coronavirus lockdown strategy. They join school staff, parents, and councils in urging Ministers to defer wider school opening until the infection rate is lower.
Karen Leonard, GMB National Officer, said: “The Government needs to show us the evidence – the public have wised up and demand open and honest transparency.
“School staff, parents, councils and top scientists all agree – opening schools more widely today is a risk too great. .
“We still have thousands of new infections every day in the UK, and the track and trace system is nowhere near ready.
“We all want life to get back to normal as quickly as possible – but it’s not worth putting children and staff at greater risk for the Government to try and get some easy headlines
“Ministers must immediately publish data on how many pupils and staff have been tested, how PPE is made available, who is funding it and the R rates where schools have opened more widely. “
Children across England have been returning to primary school, but early indications suggest the number of pupils back in the classroom varies significantly depending on local area.
Schools have begun reopening to pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 in England, and nurseries have also opened their doors to more children as lockdown measures have been eased across the country.
But the proportion of schools reopening to more pupils this week is a mixed picture across England – with some local authorities reporting no schools will admit more children on Monday.
A survey of councils by the PA news agency has found dozens of local authorities across England, predominantly in the north, are advising against a return to school on Monday amid safety concerns.
Some have raised concerns the test and trace programme is not yet “robust enough” to sufficiently reduce Covid-19 transmission in schools, where social distancing is hard to maintain with children.
But in some areas of England – such as Kingston and Richmond in London – local authorities report the vast majority of primary schools are providing some provision for priority year groups from Monday.